Tag

canoe

fireworks from hackensack

Hackensack River Fireworks

By | Boating, Trips

Well, it wasn’t my most successful trip, what with vast unexpected crowds in Johnson Park, rain, darkness. Still 7 of us managed to hit the water and see the fireworks after a quick trip home for extra rain gear. At least 2 folks missed hooking up due to the unexpected crowds…DSC00480.JPG DSC00472.JPG DSC00471.JPG

Below are some pictures taken from my boat in 2013 (as well as 1 of the NY skyline) when it wasn’t raining and I could use the good camera.

And paddling in the Hack is not for the very squeamish…a fair amount of litter, lots of mud and some downright toxic stuff down in the Meadowlands. But it’s also full of bird life that’s habituated to humans and some stretches like above route 4 or in the back channels of the Meadowlands can feel remote, even if you never get away from the sound of cars.

For anyone who wants to try it high tide is a lot better than low and I use this tide chart and there’s a whole ton of places you can launch on the Hack.   orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8124.jpg orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8123.jpg orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8122.jpg orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8120.jpg orig-on-sea_070413_tomhartphoto__mg_8119.jpg TomHartPhoto_092014_img_6756.jpg

Vast crowds on the Great Swamp

Great Swamp of Patterson

By | Boating

Beautiful day, beautiful trip, thanks once again Bob.

Swelled by resent rains, the Great Swamp was several feet above it’s usually muddy early summer levels, allowing us to short cut a few of the s-bends, but also making us deal with actual current, especially after the channel got constricted below our lunch break on 22.

We started just below the Patterson Train station (going past station, taking left on dirt road and going more or less straight). With 21 people it took a while to hit the water, but it was a beautiful day and not a bad spot to wait.

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Cliffside Park at Ridgefield Park Girls Soccer

By | Soccer

OK…2 mediocre teams but a beautiful new park and a beautiful day.

Ridgefield Park dominated but Cliffside Park was able to tie it up it in the final minutes of regulation.

Ridgefield Park celebrating after scoring winning goal.

Ridgefield Park celebrating after scoring winning goal.

Most of the way thru the second overtime Ridgefield Park scored on a long kick and the girls exuberance was a thing to behold.

Game was played at the new Overpeck Park fields….the county spent millions converting this trash heap into a park and did a hell of a job. Nestled between a tidal basin controlled by a flood gate (so it’s really a lake) and I-95, the field was beautiful, the views of the back side of the Palisades and the city spectacular. Did a short paddle around after the game and some egrets posed for me.

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Log jam on the Ramapo

Ramapo River post Irene

By | Boating

Like visiting an old friend whose changed a lot….probably don’t need to tell any North Jersey Paddles that Irene made some changes.

Sweeper by dam

Fast water (for the Ramapo) under log jam at dam

The old broken dam south of Suffern has a bad sweeper in the fast water. It is viable from the approach. I think the metal rebar that used to stick out the side is gone, so once someone clears out the sweeper this section will be safer then it was.

The section between 17 and Halifax Road, affectionately known as the below the Mason Jar section, is a real mess with at least 3 portages. The most surprising is a tree on the right bottom side of the island by River View Drive…paddling back up current is a chore at low flow. I pulled out at Halifax Road so don’t know what it is like below that…

For anyone following the news the damage to the train tracks that run along the river is probably the most catostrophic….

On the plus side, the erosion and lack of trains offered a convenient new launching site. Driving north I hit traffic approaching Sloatsburg and pulled into Dave’s Sports Shop. Previously the launch would have been down a steep gravel bank, but the flooding re-sculpted the bank into an easy carry (albeit a little circuitous to get around undercut and twisted tracks). Unfortunately for paddles and fortunately for commuters the railroad has been hard at work fixing the tracks so by October it was once again a step launch. Read More

Wallkill River Saturday Sept. 17th with HRCKC

By | Boating

Saturday the 17th promised to be a beautiful day,  so despite Martin’s warnings seven of us showed up at the Sussex Queen diner. In Martin’s words “it’s high but ok. but with probable carrying/climbing/dragging over blowdowns and strainers – may be quite strenuous.”

What followed hardly lived up to its billing. The sun that made the day look so pleasant at the start disappeared behind the clouds not long into the trip but we never had to get out of the boats…in fact, we never got out of the boats at all, as the still muddy Wallkill flood plain was not too inviting for a lunch break.

But a quiet, beautiful, remote river….disturbed only by the sound of distant chainsaws cleaning up after Irene.

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Tree down on Otter Creek north of Wallingford Vermont

Irene in Vermont

By | Boating, Trips

Visited Vermont and also saw some destruction and good examples of how natural systems can recover more quickly.

Parks are a great thing to put in a flood prone area….tennis court is full of dried mud, a few muddy places on the field and trash in the fence. They’ll need to put more sand on the infield and wood chips on the playground….However, about a dozen low lying houses in town were seriously damaged.

Though it rained a lot I don’t think it ever rained as hard as a typical thunderstorm…it just lasted for half a day rather than the ½ hour of a storm.

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Passiac River Flooding thru Paterson and Fairlawn, NJ

By | Boating, Trips

Paddled down the Passiac thru Paterson just as it was coming down.

Though I saw (and shot) a few flooding homes mostly I saw inconvenience, not destruction, with streets blocked off, parks, yards  and swimming pools flooding. When floodplains contain things that can be flooded like parks, pools and farms floods are messy and inconvenient.

Since Route 20 which closely follows much of the Passiac through Paterson was blocked off the trip was far quieter and more peaceful then usual.

As far as safety went, there was a lot of water but in the open river it was just water moving quickly. Still, anyone without a healthy respect for strainers could get themselves in trouble as the water was flowing hard and many feet deep thru riverside trees.

Flooded, empty and peaceful Route 20 along the Passiac

Flooded, empty and peaceful Route 20 along the Passiac

For those of you who don’t know, when water flows thru a tree it doesn’t get slowed much. Unfortunately, canoes, kayaks and people do get slowed and stopped when they get strained thru a tree, so any strainer needs to be approached with caution and anyone without the skill and experience to avoid a strainer needs to stay off a fast moving river.
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Surviving Irene

By | Boating, Events

We have survived.
As we live only a block from the tidal part of the Hackensack River so our area had a voluntary evacuation….a voluntary evacuation? What’s the difference between that and a vacation? We did move the car out of the basement parking lot and filled a bunch of water bottles and, being campers, we have enough candles, flashlights, propane and the like to survive comfortably for weeks.

The Hackensack, despite the  pictures below, got away fine, but some of the other towns in the are have some serious flooding  ….maybe someday the powers that be will understand that dams only control flooding if they are drawn down so that they hold water during heavy rain…and of course developing in a flood plain is seldom a good idea. The powers that be will say that the rain was so severe no one could anticipate it (despite it being less severe then what meteorologists had forecast). Heard NJ Gov. Christie on the news on Thursday night saying he wasn’t going to open the flood gates at Pompton Lakes until he had convincing proof that drawing the lake down would lessen the flooding. How convincing off a proof do they need….though of course the problem is development in low lying flood prone areas. For many houses along the Pompton and Passiac this will be the third time they are being flooded in 5 months.

Still, as you can see, the flooding is impressive, though for the most part it’s of parks, parking lots and old buildings…things that can survive flooding.

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Delaware River with HRCKC

By | Boating, Trips

On Saturday, August 13th, quite a few of us intreprid souls met at the Water Gap….we first convoyed up to Worthington State Park a few miles (and that one darn 3 minute stoplight), spent a while unloading, convoyed down to Belvidere.

As usual, Martha and I were the last to arrive….early mornings just are not a forte. Sorry folks.

Despite the early start it was after 11 before we hit the water….we started in beautiful weather but it quickly clouded up.

Approaching the Water Gap we approached the noise that was to be with us for the better part of the trip. The gap is, of course, spectacular, but the interstate highway the runs though it is not….

To start things off they are taking the lead paint off the I-80 bridge, so we entered with the gap with the smell of solvents.

At an island below the gap some search and rescue folks were doing some sort of a training exercise.  Lori went over there to check out a Great Blue Heron and when she finally understood that they did not want her to come down on there side of the island she was unable to get out of the main current (see http://www.nfb.ca/film/path_of_the_paddle_solo_basic/ for some quick instruction on how to ferry across a current ) so she finally went down river and across their rope…

A leisurely lunch followed, with Lori having disappeared downstream. I used her disappearance as chance to explore the other side of the islands, but she was waiting for us a the pull out with cookies.

A brief shower at the end of the trip and I guess some of them headed off for Pizza.

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Ramapo River with Hackensack Canoe and Kayak Club

By | Boating, Trips

On June 25th 5 intrepid souls joined me for a little trip down the Ramapo.

On Wednesday several inches of rain in an hour or so had pushed the gauges up above 4000 cfs (flood stage)  but by Friday morning when I announced the trip the were down around a 1000…still a lot, but I’ve run the river at the level.

Being a relatively inexperienced trip leader I added “You should at least be able to ferry (move sideways across the stream) which is difficult in keeled boats.”

2 club members contacted my after I posted cautioning me but I decided to go ahead anyway. Launched from the trail conference and around the first big turn below 17 with no trouble as everyone stayed to the inside and avoided the strainers on the outside…

Not a HRCKC member flipped on the Ramapo

Not a HRCKC member flipped on the Ramapo...I was too busy when we had our issues to get the camera out.

But the next turn had more of a problem, with a strainer across most of the river only a few inches below the water….high enough to catch a boat and with plenty of force to turn it sideways. Debby got caught up and flipped and got pinned against it for a minute before climbing free. Her friend Phillip Horschel tried to save her and got knocked over and clear. John Bergen got flipped trying to rescue her paddle….boats and people everywhere. Read More